One iSeries shop is already benefiting from the recent Lawson Software-Intentia merger, Red Wing Shoe Co. After implementing Intentia's enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, Red Wing started creating its own in-house business intelligence (BI) programs.
Then, Intentia announced its intention to merge with Lawson, and it was right around the same time that the St. Paul, Minn.-based shoemaker started to think about buying a BI software package rather than building one. The company was looking for easy-to-use, functional reports detailing how its business was running.
In the spring, at a user conference, Red Wing saw a demonstration of Lawson's software and felt no need to look elsewhere. The programs from Lawson looked like they would integrate well with the ERP software the company already had running from Intentia -- it was a no-brainer.
"We did not shop around really," said Paige Stajkowski, IT applications manager at Red Wing.
In May, after Intentia and Lawson completed the merger, Red Wing bought Lawson. Last month, it implemented Lawson's programs into a pilot project that it has been running since. It was the first time following the merger that an Intentia customer bought additional Lawson applications and used them in its ERP infrastructure.
Red Wing has Intentia's ERP software running on an AS400 machine, and Lawson's BI programs on a Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) server. It also has an HP server that runs a data warehouse program, a Websphere server and other application servers.
So far, Stajkowski said, the BI experiment has gone well. The company's goal was to create one "dashboard" that could spit out five different reports. But in the first three weeks, Red Wing had already created four dashboards and more than a dozen applications.
Under its in-house program, Red Wing was creating .pdf reports from Adobe Acrobat, which served a purpose but weren't flexible enough for the company's liking. Now it can create business measurement reports that management and end users can look at on a regular basis, shrinking the gap between the data and the report, and making the information more valuable.
Stajkowski said the reports also allow users to view a broad look at the report or drill down into the details.
"We're pretty confident that it's going to work for us," she said, adding that the pilot project didn't start until recently, and so she hasn't discovered any problems yet with the software or areas where it could improve.
Lee Kilmer, Lawson's global director of enterprise performance management (EPM) solutions, said the Intentia-Lawson merger has obvious marketing advantages, with each company able to use the other's customer base to build its own.
For those customers who aren't customers of either vendor, the merger presents an opportunity to get an ERP and BI package wrapped together. For customers like Red Wing, it presents a different opportunity.
"They saw the value in their investment they had in ERP and wanted to work that with an integrated BI solution," Kilmer said.
Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Mark Fontecchio, News Writer
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